October 28, 2013 - Toyota has announced that a new version of its top-selling iQ model is underway.
(Representative image - not actual vehicle)
Sources are stating that this is more of a mid-model refresh, but will bring many enhancements to the make's high quality platform. It is being slated for release in early 2014 as a 2015 model.
Dubbed the "lo-iQ", it looks largely the same as the outgoing model. Some of the exterior changes include a slightly more aggressively raked windshield tint, door panels with optional bump trim and the taillights will have standard, clear (Altezza style) and pre-cracked lense options. Otherwise the new lo-iQ looks largely the same as its predecessor. The big changes are mechanical.
Gone will be the old inline-four and CVT gearbox. It will feature a modified version of Toyota/Subaru's joint venture 4U-GSE engine. Due to space constraints, the engine currently shoehorned into the FR-S, GT 86 and BRZ is undergoing pretty heavy modification. The cylinders will not be opposing, rather the block will be modified to allow all four pistons to move vertically in order to fit in the lo-iQ's engine bay. Displacement is lowered to 1296 cc and the 4U-GSE's square bore and stroke are not retained. Power is upped from the outgoing model to 95 hp at 6100 RPM, torque remains the same at 89 lb-ft at 4400 RPM.
(this could be Toyota's new engine for the lo-iQ)
The transmission is a completely new system developed by a joint effort between Toyota and Kitchenaid. The unit is called the "Flexible Automatic Transmission" (FAT). It provides power to the front wheels through two pulleys linked by a "Velocity belt" (V-belt); a new technology that borrows from Kitchenaid's years of household appliance expertise. As the vehicle accelerates, the pulleys move in harmony to provide a nearly infinite number of gear ratios to keep the engine at peak power levels or achieve greater fuel economy, depending on the driving style.
(Diagram of Toyota's high-technology FAT drive)
The suspension is all new as well. The lo-iQ still utilizes the MacPherson Strut front / Torsion Beam rear setup but now sits 5.1'' from the ground. Sources say this allows for better "ground grounding" and body sleekness. Spring rates are unchanged, still providing a solid ride while providing the feeling of complete disconnect from the road. The engineer we questioned stated that "I really don't give a fuck, get that recorder out of my face", affirming the refreshed Toyota's handling capabilities. Curb weight should remain the same at, near or around 2100 lbs, and you can expect to see 37 MPG combined from the new FAT transmission and no MPG combined from the 6-speed manual because fuck you.
Interior will remain unchanged, except for new window switch contacts and Toyota's new Intelligent Floor Accessory Retaining Technology (i-FART), pictured below.
We are looking forward to Toyota's new lo-iQ and expect it to hit showrooms sometime next year. Probably just in time for the Superbowl because the commercials would probably be viewed by people who may be interested in purchasing the lo-iQ.